The cockpit area

The Pick a Shade game

Finally I got to start painting for real. The lightest of greys didn't sound too appealing so I went with the yet untouched USAF Medium Grey (VMA 71120). Simply enough I just airbrushed all the cockpit parts, the insides of the airframe and the parts that can be seen through the canopy. I did my best to cover so much that no observer should see anything unpainted, no matter what the angle - as if anyone could see much through the canopy, anyway.

Rapid fire

After this was done I took a small step away from my comfort zone and sliced off the necessary decals (9) from the sheet. My first stop was, naturally, the back seat, because it's instrument panel only required one decal. The front one took two and they overlapped each other a bit vertically. All three of IP decals were somewhat larger than the pieces they were to be set on.
When I was done with these, I applied the "armrest button banks", all four of them were slightly narrower than the tub's edges, with was handy and I didn't need to swear that much while working on them. And then someone wonders, why I loathe working with decals...

The instructions suggested painting the ejection seats brown so that's what I did (VMC 873 Tierra / US Field Drab), even though the area to be covered looked quite oversized in the instructions. But as my intention was to get this model done pretty quickly*, I didn't stop browsing a mountain of reference material and just followed the suggestion.

At this point it was the time to install the black-painted joysticks onto the floor. When I took the pictures, I hadn't remembered that I wanted to paint a small grey dot to represent the thumb-hat controller and a red one for the trigger. As if anyone could really see those details, either, but the importance is knowing they're there. Then I glued the cockpit tub on the nose part.

To wrap up beautifully I glued this subassembly into the airframe and looped some masking tape to hold it tighter. I know rubber bands would've been much more effective, but I just didn't have any of them handily available.

Coming soon

Next I'll need to glue on the glass panel of the gun's aiming thingy, do the aforementioned joystick details and then I can actually glue on the canopy. And assemble the whole airframe while I'm at it. I was just pondering, if the landing gear setup fits inside the wheel wells in the closed position...

*) My original plan was that if I got this done quickly enough, I could drag it to the Model Expo 2015 - but as time has flown like a headless chicken, it doesn't look too good. At the moment of writing there's something like three weeks to go, but I can't remember when the signup is closed. And yes, I know, you can take WIP models there as well, but but but.

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